Conclusion: Renewal In Me
Over the last year, God has used my reading on the Gospel and studying of past revivals to do a work of renewal in my own life. I have grown in greater clarity in the gospel, particularly the importance of getting the gospel “in the right order”– biblical, historical, salvific. This order keeps us from pulling Jesus out of his story and attaching him to our own personal, cultural, or political story. Instead, it demands that we readjust our lives to Jesus, receiving his call to come and follow him in his Kingdom. Getting (and passing on) the gospel in this order promotes a more biblical view of conversion and discipleship that I think produces health in the church. I’ve also come to greater clarity on the saving power of the gospel for our lives — personal, relational, societal. This has renewed my zeal for evangelism. It’s given me the language to better share the good news in conversation and in my preaching from multiple angles. The “gospel recovery” I have experienced in my own has been significant.
Also, my imagination has been stirred for what renewal could look like in our day. I am eager to continue reading and learning about revival. I am committed to the work of desperate prayer and humble repentance. I believe the preconditions for renewal are ripe, and I am working to lay the proper kindling in my own life and ministry for God to spark a new movement.
There are still many challenges we are facing in broader Evangelicalism– racism, deconstruction, denominational infighting, liberalism, Christian-nationalism, and scandal, just to name a few. And there are many challenges we face in our shifting culture– expressive individualism, digital formation (or digital deformation, you could argue), political polarization, misinformation, and economic instability, among others. But learning about renewal movements of the past has grown my optimism and hope that revival might be just around the corner.
Perhaps, what we are seeing now, the receding spiritual state of the West (disaffiliations and declining churches), only means the next wave of revival is out there gathering in power and volume getting ready to come crashing in. As James Burns said, “when the night is at its darkest, the dawn is on the way.” Through rethinking evangelism, recovering the gospel, and learning from renewals past, God has done significant work in my life and has grown my hope for the future of His church.
- Sayers, Mark. Reappearing Church: The Hope of Renewal in the Rise of our Post-Christian Culture. (p. 49). Moody Publishers 2019.
- Burns, James. The Laws of Revival. (p. 29). Calvary Chapel of Philidelphia 2013.